Executive Search

What is Executive Search?

An executive search consultant is responsible for placing senior level candidates, typically at Director or C level. Unlike traditional contingent recruitment, executive search often requires a much more granular search process, and is typically a more lengthy process (1 month-12 months+). The role is heavily analytical and requires good project management, organisation and time management skills.
As an executive search consultant you become an industry expert. The role combines solution sales with research skills. The ideal candidate is someone who is smart, inquisitive, detail-oriented and outgoing. As you’ll be facing off to prominent business leaders, our clients also look for demonstrable examples of where you have shown maturity beyond your experience.

What are the Core Responsibilities of an Executive Research Consultant?

  • Attending client briefings on site, gathering requirements from the client.
  • Implementing search techniques and identifying relevant pools of talent, using internal databases and market mapping techniques.
  • Working closely with internal teams devising appropriate search strategy.
  • Approaching prospective candidates identified for the search, creating a long list.
  • Interviewing, meeting and qualifying candidates against the client brief, creating a short list.
  • Briefing clients on the relevant candidates short list.
  • Managing the interview process, including offer negotiations.
  • Highlight areas for business improvement and work with the Client Services Director / Sales Director to implement enhancements to the client. Often this is done on a ‘retained’ basis, where the executive search firm is paid partially up front for the search (often 50% up front and 50% on completion of the assignment).

How do Executive Search Companies make Money?

The ‘fee’ for a search is usually 30% of the candidate’s first year salary, not including bonus. For example, if a candidate was offered and accepted a role at £200k per annum, the firm would charge £60k to implement enhancements to the client. 

Often this is done on a ‘retained’ basis, where the executive search firm is paid partially up front for the search (often 50% up front and 50% on completion of the assignment).

What Can I Expect to Earn?

New graduates can expect to be paid a basic salary between £23k-£30k. You can also expect to earn commission and/or bonus, bringing your total earnings to £35k-£50k year 1. By year 3, you can expect to be earning £75k-£100k.

What do Executive Search Firms look for in Candidates?

  • A 2.1 degree from a top 10 University, with a minimum of a AAA at A level.
  • Great communication skills and the ability to network internally and externally.
  • High levels of attention to detail.
  • Solid analytical skills.
  • Someone who thrives on working to targets/deadlines.

Industry Jargon:

  • MARKET MAPPING: identifying talent by company, job role or department and then profiling them.
  • RETAINER: A fee paid in advance in order to initiate a search on behalf of a client.
  • C-LEVEL: High-ranking executive titles within an organisation, usually beginning with “chief” (eg) Chief Executive Officer.
  • LONG LIST: an initial list of candidates who fit the search profile.
  • SHORT LIST: a list of qualified candidates who are interested in the role.
  • OTE: On Target Earnings (base salary +commission and/or bonus).

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